Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Johnson on soothsayers and legal culture in medieval England

 Tom Johnson (University of York) has published the following article: "Soothsayers, Legal Culture, and the Politics of Truth in Late-Medieval England," Cultural and Social History (published online on 31 Aug. 2020). Here's the abstract: 

Soothsaying or divination has generally been understood by historians within the context of magic, popular culture, and lay religion. This article considers what it might be able to tell us about legal culture in late-medieval England. It argues that soothsayers not only offered people an alternative to the pursuit of justice in law-courts, but also different means of conceiving what justice was: they did not necessarily aim at the conclusion of peace between parties, but rather claimed to unveil the truth. Elaborating this comparison, it argues that this casts a different light on the publicity of late-medieval legal culture.

Further information is available here.

--Mitra Sharafi